Installers vs. Technicians: Understanding the Difference before Beginning Your HVAC CareerMay 03, 2019
HVAC school can put you on a number of different career paths. Two of the most popular are as an HVAC installer and an HVAC technician (sometimes called a maintenance technician or service technician). While there is plenty of overlap between what installers and technicians do, they also have some differences.
There are advantages to being either an installer or a technician, so whichever path you choose will come with plenty of perks. To find out whether you’re more suited to a career as an installer or a technician, here’s a closer look at the differences between the two.
The Main Difference Between HVAC Installers and Technicians Is Maintenance
The main difference between HVAC installers and HVAC technicians is a little obvious from their job titles. HVAC installers are primarily responsible for installing new HVAC systems, while HVAC technicians focus more on maintaining and repairing existing HVAC systems. Of course, both technicians and installers need to have a good understanding of how HVAC systems work and many of their job duties overlap.
Because HVAC installers install HVAC systems, they also tend to be more involved in the construction industry than technicians are. When a new home or business is being built, it needs an HVAC installer to come in and set up an HVAC system for it. HVAC technicians, on the other hand, are more likely to work with home and business owners who already have an HVAC system, but one that needs repairs or maintenance.
HVAC installers often find plenty of work in the construction industry
There Are Advantages to Being Either an HVAC Technician or Installer
Both installers and technicians enjoy unique advantages and neither HVAC career is necessarily better than the other. Installers tend to be more in demand when the economy is booming, as this is when new buildings are being constructed and people have more income to afford new or upgraded HVAC systems. During economic downturns, meanwhile, HVAC technicians are in demand since people will often be holding off on replacing older HVAC systems, which are more likely to break down and require repairs.
The hours that HVAC technicians and installers keep also tend to differ. Because technicians are servicing homes and businesses, their schedules often have to accommodate those of their clients. In many cases, HVAC technicians need to work on-call, especially given that some HVAC repairs, such as for restaurants or nursing homes, may need to be urgently fixed. HVAC installers, on the other hand, are typically more able to set their own appointment schedules. The payoff to being on-call is that demand for technicians tends to be more stable no matter the time of year or economy.
Technicians and installers may have different work schedules depending on their customers
HVAC School Can Prepare You to Work as Both an Installer and a Technician
If you’re still having trouble deciding which career path you should choose, the good news is that you can actually do both. Your HVAC training will prepare you to become both an installer and a technician. Many HVAC technicians also work as installers, so they can easily find work no matter what the economy looks like. In fact, sometimes the title HVAC technician refers to a person who does both installation and maintenance work.
Of course, if you prefer installation over maintenance or vice versa, then you are free to specialize in one area rather than doing both. HVAC installers and technicians are both in high demand and they are well compensated, so focusing on the part of the industry you enjoy the most is more than possible.
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